August Cooking Projects

My goal has been to be more diverse in my cooking, and learn more vegetarian recipes. I’m doing pretty good so far here are some of my successes. I had a failure also with black bean falafel.

Americanized Asian Food

Really I just need to not give Chinese fast food places my money soo… I have taught myself how to make Honey Walnut Shrimp and Orange Chicken this week. They were both a success (and I made a really big mess in my kitchen!). Now if I can find the right recipe for Cashew Chicken I will be set!



Salt Block Shrimp with Balsamic Portabella. Balsamic vinegar is a bit of a pain scrubbing off of a salt block I must say. Cedar Plank Salmon, unfortunately I still don’t like Salmon but I did try to like it(again).



Grilled Zucchini and Purple Carrots with Falafel and Dill Sauce. Om nom nom! I could eat this every day but I had a terrible, horrible, very bad, not good experience with black bean falafel a few days later so I am taking a short falafel break.

Summertime Kitchen

Recent Cooking Projects

While I was seeing if the pans were going to come falling down on me(new hooks) I made my first batch of Black Bean Soup. I didn’t find a whole lot of variation in the basic recipes that are out there.

Blackbean Soup

2 cups of dried Blackbeans

4 cups low sodium Vegetable or low sodium Chicken broth

4 pieces bacon(optional)

1 bellpepper

3 cloves garlic

1 small onion

1 tsp cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

salt to taste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce(optional)

fresh cilantro



sour cream

I started with 2 cups of dried beans, soaked them and rinsed them, then added 4 cups of broth and brought that to a boil then reduced it to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Then while the beans are coming to a boil, in a separate pan I cooked 4 pieces of chopped bacon. Add bacon to beans and then use the bacon fat to sauteed 1 bellpepper, 3 cloves worth of minced garlic and 1 small onion. After  1 1/2 hours add cumin, chili powder, salt, and Worcestershire. Continue to simmer another 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Use the cilantro, lime, sour cream and diced avocado as a topper.


Grilled Yellow Squash

Leave it to me to never run out of things to do with squash. I used olive oil, ‘everyday seasoning’ from Trader Joe’s and garlic for the squash. For the falafel I am giving some frozen store bought ones a try, I saturated them in some olive oil before grilling. Made a sauce with sour cream.


Rice Pudding

Easy way to use left over plain rice from dinner. Add a ratio of 1 cup rice rice 1 1/2 cups soy milk, 1 cinnamon stick, a splash of vanilla, a handful of raisins, and a handful of brown sugar. Bring to boil and cook about 20 minutes, remove cinnamon stick.


Also this week has been full of coffee ice cubes, best thing ever in the summer time. Make sure you’ve got a good coffee. There’s too much good coffee out there to drink bad coffee.

Iced Coffee

1/2 cup of cow, soy or almond milk

6-8 coffee iced cubes

1/2 cup cold coffee (brewed strong)

1 tablespoon(or more!) condensed sweet milk




Ambercup Squash with Garlic and Thyme


1 small or medium sized ambercup squash

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2-3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt



Cut one small to medium sized ambercup squash in half and deseed. Place face down on a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

After removed from oven flip over and allow to cool to a temperature you can handle before scooping the flesh away from the skin with a large spoon, discard skin.

In a medium frying pan heat coconut oil, mince and saute garlic until it becomes fragrant and begins to brown slightly. Add squash, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and stir with a fork to mash the squash with until it becomes like mashed potatoes, cook for several minutes more to let the flavors mingle. Serve warm.




Spicy Yuchiki Kuri Soup

Spicy Yuchiki Kuri Soup


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 Onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic

2 jalapenos chopped with seeds

1 teaspoons cumin

1 heaping tablespoon Oregano

1 pinch ground roasted ghost pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 can white beans, drained

30 oz pureed yuchiki kuri squash

1 quart vegetable stock

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey





Cut 1 yuchiki kuri squash in half and deseed.  Roast, face down at 350 degrees until soft, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool, remove skin and puree the soft flesh, set aside.

In a soup pot over medium high heat add oil, onions, garlic and jalapenos, saute about 5 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, salt and ghost pepper, saute about 2 more minutes.

Add white beans, pureed yuchiki kuri and vegetable stock, simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Add red wine vinegar and honey then cook for several minutes more. Remove from heat and blend with stick blender until smooth.




Golden Acorn and Delicata Squash

I’m not one to celebrate holidays but the closest I come to doing so is in the fall. Each year I usually pick one or two themes and go with those. This year so far there is a definite interest in squash, so I am trying a different squash recipe with each kind of small squash I am finding in stores. I have to skip over the larger stuff because I’m just cooking for one.

Here is golden acorn squash, halved and deseeded then roasted with honey and sage.



Stuffed Delicata Squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut and deseed the squash, roast face down in the oven on a baking sheet.

Meanwhile, dice maple breakfast sausage into chunks, add chopped onion and the portabella mushrooms all into the pan in equal amounts, about 1/2 cup of each and saute until cooked.  Remove Squash from oven, flip over and fill with saute, dividing evenly between halves. Add grated Parmesan, and a fresh rosemary sprig dipped in olive oil over the top. Place in oven until the squash is tender, throughout when pierced with a fork. 30-40 minutes.

When done remove rosemary sprig and discard, then add more Parmesan.




Blue Hubbard Squash

An interesting tear drop shaped squash that has a grey/blue color, they can store for 6 or 7 months if undamaged and stored well.


Cut  half of a baby Hubbard squash into bite sized pieces and remove skin. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt & pepper and place in a baking dish, add whole chicken and fresh rosemary sprigs. Roast at 350 for approximately 20 minutes per lb or until internal temperature is 180 degrees.


Place the other half of the squash face down in a baking dish and bake until it is tender when poked with a fork, about 40 minutes.


Hubbard Squash Pie

2 cups of roasted and mashed hubbard squash

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons softened butter

juice from 1/2 lemon


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.




Roasted Acorn Squash


Roasted Acorn Squash

Cut 1 acorn squash in half, remove seeds with a spoon and discard.  Score the inside of the squash and cut a flat spot in the skin create a flat base if necessary. Dice a tablespoon on butter and place chunks inside and on the rim of the squash. Drizzle maple syrup over the squash and bake for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven, or until caramelized.


Pumpkin Almond Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins

a wonderful experiment these are not strongly pumpkin but a hint of the pumpkin is there, using almond meal tends to leave breads a little flat so I added the gluten, you could also use bread flour.


Pumpkin Almond Cinnamon Rolls with Raisins

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1cup milk
  •  12 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1(1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
  • 2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon gluten
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 1teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1cup raisin
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


In Microwave,heat milk and butter together in 20 second bursts until butter is nearly melted (120-130 degrees). In a mixing bowl add pumpkin, sugar and salt. Add milk mixture, egg and yeast. Beat until well combined.

In separate mixing bowl, combine flour and almond meal. Add half of flour mixture to the pumpkin and mix for 3-5 minutes. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft). Turn into lightly oiled bowl, then oil the surface of  the dough lightly.

Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto floured surface. Knead until you form a smooth dough that is easy to handle. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12×10 inch rectangle.

In small bowl, combine brown sugar, almond meal and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jellyroll style. Pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll into 12 1- inch slices. Place rolls in an oiled 9 x 12 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled(30-45 minutes).

Bake rolls at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden. Drizzle? with cream cheese frosting. Makes 12 rolls.



Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix softened butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add milk and Vanilla, incorporate well. While mixing add the confectioners sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice in batches and continue to mix until smooth.

Butternut Squash

With something as large as a butternut squash I tend to break it up into more than 1 recipe or meal, as I am usually cooking for one.


Roasted Butternut Squash

1/2 butternut squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey

1  tablespoon balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 425 Degrees

De-seed 1/2 of a butternut squash and cut into cubes, cut skin off of cubes and discard. Place cubes into a small baking dish. In a small bowl add oil, syrup or honey, vinegar, salt and pepper, mix well. Pour over squash and turn pieces until they are all coated.

Place in oven for 20 minutes, mix well and return to over for another 20 minutes or until done.


Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 yellow onion

1 small yellow potato

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 butternut squash

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 package cream cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a oiled baking sheet place half of a de-seeded butternut squash, face down and bake until tender(30-40 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a sauce pan add butter, onion(finely chopped) and potato (in 1 inch cubes) saute over medium heat until tender.

Add Chicken stock, roasted squash(cubed), marjoram, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes, stir occasionally.

Remove from heat and puree in blender with cream cheese until smooth.

Return to pan and gently reheat( do not bring to boil) Serve warm.

Zucchini and Squash Blossoms

I’ve made my rounds of the farmers market and what is really standing out to me right now is Squash and Zucchini, I got a giant 10 lb Zucchini last week for $3 and both a giant Zucchini and Squash the week before for $4.

I have been eating one of my favorite breakfasts twice a day for the past 4 days and I don’t think I’ll be getting tired of it anytime soon I love it so much I thought I would share it.

Cut a good inch and a half thick slick of giant Zucchini. Coat in seasoned flour, I use Salt, Pepper and Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. I don’t make a batter or dip it in milk or egg first, there’s something really great about a simple flour coating. Add to hot pan with 1/4 inch oil and fry until dark brown on both sides and cooked through.

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Set aside on paper towels when done cooking to drain excess oil. Discard excess oil from pan and fry two eggs over easy or make poached eggs. Serve on top of Zucchini ‘steak’.

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You can also chop the Zucchini into 1 inch chunks before flouring and frying which is ideal for small zucchini/squash.

I also made Zucchini bread but the majority of both squash and Zucchini has been consumed fried with egg.

Another Farmers Market special was Squash Blossoms.

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Take a few spoonfulls of cream cheese, mix well with minced garlic, a couple of leaves of chopped fresh basil and a tablespoon of buttermilk. Add salt and pepper to taste.  (I have also made this by substituting the garlic and basil with pesto)

Use a small spoon to fill the inside of the flower with the cream cheese mixture and twist the petals to close and seal the flowers, set aside.

In a bowl mix 1/2 cup of flower with buttermilk and mix well. Dip blossoms in batter then fry until golden.

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